North America

CLAIM EMPLOYEE HOME OFFICE EXPENSES FOR 2020

With the deadline fast approaching to file personal income tax returns for 2020, some important questions to consider are whether or not an employee is eligible to claim a deduction for home office expenses for the tax year of 2020 and if so how to calculate such home office expenses?

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Alston v. Spiegel: A Reminder That Sanctions May Provide Employers with a Tool to Deter Frivolous Suits

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are intended to promote the “just, speedy, and inexpensive determination” of lawsuits. For companies defending baseless employment claims, those words may feel like an empty promise. The First Circuit’s recent decision in Alston v. Spiegel sanctioning an attorney for filing frivolous discrimination and retaliation claims, however, reminds employers that there are strategies for deterring such claims

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The Eleventh Circuit Finally Breaks Its Silence on Website Accessibility – but Was Its Decision Worth the Wait?

After keeping us waiting with baited breath for several years, the Eleventh Circuit finally broke its silence – issuing its long-anticipated ruling in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, holding that websites are not covered as places of public accommodation under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“Title III” or “ADA”).  In doing so, the Court reversed and vacated the district court’s decision finding that defendant, Winn-Dixie Stores, violated Title III by failing to maintain a website that is accessible to individuals, who are blind or have low vision.

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NLRB Holds Arbitration Agreements Can Remain Confidential—for Now

Confidential arbitration agreements between employers and their employees are commonplace.  Employers favor such agreements for many reasons, including preserving privacy and allowing legitimate claims to be either settled or litigated based on their merits, rather than the threat of public embarrassment or high defense costs.  Employees, too, may value the confidentiality afforded by arbitration.  In contrast to private and confidential arbitration proceedings, public testimony and publicly filed court pleadings, motions, and briefs may contain unflattering or salacious allegations that are readily accessible to the public and may harm an employee’s future employment prospects and reputation.

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U.S. Institutes Arms Embargo and Additional Sanctions Against Russia

U.S. companies involved in international trade and transactions have become accustomed to compliance hurdles when conducting business with the Russian Federation (“Russia”).

Prior to the inauguration of President Biden, many commenters predicted additional sanctions or other punitive measures against Russia at the beginning of the new presidential administration. These predictions were fulfilled on March 2, 2021, when multiple U.S. executive branch agencies announced additional measures against Russia in response to the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny. Read more…

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U.S. Scrutiny of Foreign Investment in the Semiconductor Industry: CFIUS Review and Export Controls Place Deals under the Microscope

The U.S. semiconductor industry has always been very important to the country’s national security. As a result, the U.S. government (“USG”) continues to increase legal protections of the semiconductor industry by imposing certain foreign investment restrictions and export controls.

One of the primary reasons for such legal protections is that the USG seeks to secure supply chains for U.S. companies and the U.S. semiconductor industry: the USG has highlighted semiconductor manufacturing as a priority, particularly when it comes to U.S. technology transfers to China, the largest market for semiconductor chips.  Read more…

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CBP Cites Inconsistencies and Lack of Clear and Convincing Evidence in Denying Protest from Manufacturer Accused of Using Forced Labor

On March 5, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a ruling that denied a protest from Dandong Huayang that clothing made at its Chinese factory was not produced by North Korean employees.

The clothing in question was seized by CBP on December 23, 2020, under the authority of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”), which prohibits goods mined, produced, or manufactured by North Korean citizens and nationals from importation into the United States. Read more…

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InsightsNew U.S. Rules on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain Mean Increased Scrutiny of ICTS Transactions

On January 19, 2021, the Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) published an interim final rule, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain,” (“ICTS Rule”) implementing Executive Order 13873.

The ICTS Rule, which became effective March 22, 2021, is designed to address national security threats by prohibiting certain transactions involving information and communications technology and services (“ICTS”), defined as: Read more…

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Epstein Becker Green’s Free Wage-Hour App Includes 2021 Changes to Federal, State, and Local Laws

Years ago, Epstein Becker Green (“EBG”) created its free wage-hour app to put federal, state, and local wage-laws at employers’ fingertips.

The app provides important information about overtime exemptions, minimum wages, overtime, meal periods, rest periods, on-call time, travel time, and tips.

As the laws have changed, so, too, has EBG’s free wage-hour app, which is updated to reflect new developments.

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Lisa Gretchko of Howard & Howard Appointed U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan

ROYAL OAK, Mich., April 7, 2021 – Howard & Howard is very pleased to announce that long-time attorney Lisa S. Gretchko has been appointed to serve as a judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, Michigan.

On March 30, 2021 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals made the announcement and Ms. Gretchko was sworn-in during a private ceremony and assumed her judicial duties on April 5, 2021.

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